A Meridian house fire Saturday that caused $230,000 in damage including $60,000 worth of personal items inside the house has been determined to have been an accident, according to Meridian Fire Deputy Chief Perry Palmer.
Four people were displaced by the fire, including the owner and three renters. A dog perished in the blaze, but a cat was rescued. The cat was taken to a veterinarian and is expected to be OK, Palmer said.
The fire was reported at about 4:37 p.m. Saturday in the 2800 block of Tagish Way. There was one male resident at home at the time of the fire, and he was able to get out without injury.
Palmer said fire investigators determined the fire was accidental the result of improper discarding of smoking materials. But the story is a little more complicated than that.
A resident had poured cooking oil in a wooden box filled with soil that was used for putting out cigarettes. Why pour cooking oil in it?
"He didn't want to put it down the sink," Palmer explained.
The box was on the porch next to the house, which has vinyl siding. Palmer said vinyl siding ignites easily and burns fast. Also, a barbecue fed by a gas line from the house hadn't been shut off, and that likely helped accelerate the fire, Palmer said.
The fire started on the outside porch wall, then spread up the exterior of the house to the attic. Firefighters were able to salvage some valuables in the house, including photos and clothing.
The fire was contained to the attic, but what wasn't destroyed by fire may have been damaged by water. All of the residents were displaced by the fire. They were provided with vouchers for a place to stay for a few days, and some cash for personal items.